There is no mutiny, there are no threats of transfer and no lockers were cleared out, but Florida Gators five-star freshmen defensive end Ronald Powell and defensive tackle Dominique Easley are each dealing with their own separate issues that came to a head Tuesday. Despite rumors and speculation stating the contrary, Powell and Easley did not rally together to combat rough treatment from veterans and neither wishes to leave the University of Florida, a source close to the program told OGGOA on Wednesday.
Powell, who head coach Urban Meyer said had a “great practice on Monday” and was seen working with the team on Wednesday, simply could not have missed multiple practices, as rumored elsewhere. He even dressed and participated in a portion of practice on Tuesday but did leave the field early after a growing sense of frustration overcame him, our source said.
The No. 1 overall recruit in the country coming out of high school, Powell is having some trouble coming to the realization that he is not the best player on the field each day and has a lot of work to do in order to reach his full potential. This happens often when a player is the best on his team – or perhaps the best in his state – in high school and joins a college program loaded with top talent.
As our source put it, every freshman on the team – at one time or another – has a moment where they get rattled; some deal with it internally or by talking to coaches, others act out and leave practice for a day to clear their heads. It is common and happens more often than you might believe.
Easley, on the other hand, is not dealing with that same frustration – at least not publicly; his problems are not “football-related.” In his case, a “personal issue” is causing him some trouble. He did indeed miss practice on Tuesday, but returned Wednesday and participated in full. Our source added that, due to privacy concerns, he would not get into specifics regarding Easley’s personal issue but did mention that it is something he has to “work out on his own.”
Both Powell and Easley met with coaches about their respective issues.
As far as the comments from senior center Mike Pouncey on Tuesday that the freshman class as a whole needs to “shut their mouths and come play,” that is indeed a sentiment felt throughout the program. There is a sense of entitlement being portrayed by the freshmen as a whole, but it is not something the veteran players or coaching staff have been surprised by. That issue is being dealt with on a day-to-day basis and is being slowly remedied as the youngsters continue to be integrated into the program.
When Florida closed practice to fans and the media a few weeks ago, the main reason stated was to keep out “bad guys” and ensure that the players were safe. Just as important in the decision making was Meyer’s desire to rid the team of the distractions, speculation and media pressure that it felt trying to defend its title last season. As our source put it, if you think Meyer was angry about Jeremy Fowler’s alleged misquote of now-redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson in the Orlando Sentinel last March, you have no idea how fuming mad he is about these false reports.
“He wants the person whose responsible’s head on a stick,” our source said.
Photo Credit: Heather Riggs/The Independent Florida Alligator